Posted 4/13/2004 10:42 AM (GMT -6)
I was having severe chest pains at night, and sometimes even during the day. It was a dull, aching pain, not a burning, and wasn't in the center of my chest, but off to the left side. I make stents for a living so am familiar with common signs of heart-related chest pains (pain decreases/increases w/ breathing, its sharp rather than dull, etc..), and knew it had nothing to do with my heart. My doc diagnosed me with gerd, and gave me aciphex. The aciphex worked a little.... it reduced pain from 5 days a week to 1, but still the only cure seemed to basically eat nothing. I called the doc back, to see if there was anything else we could try. He scheduled me for a GI scope to see exactly what was going on.
They did the scope and that doc told me I was producing too much stomach acid, and hence the aciphex should work (since it is an inhibitor, used to prevent production as opposed to those that deal with the acid once its produced, like pepcid). He also swabbed a tissue sample for lab analysis. He called a week later to tell me I had bacteria in my stomach, which was causing all of the pain. I asked how you acquire the bacteria, and he said most people get it as children, seeing as how we eat anything when young. He gave me about 10 days of penicillin....and I've never had chest pain again. I went through nearly two years of being afraid to sleep at night, 3 visits to the ER, starving myself, all to find out that just a little penicillin was the cure. I've never heard of this, and just wanted to let others know.....
My coworker also complained of chronic heartburn. He went in for a yearly blood test, and asked them to test his blood for the same bacteria discovered in me. He also proved positive, and is taking his penicillin.....and has no more heartburn.
To summarize....if you're having chronic "heartburn" just have a simple bloodtest to check for the bacteria. 10 days of penicillin is a much better cure than taking aciphex the rest of your life.